About the SUR Programme

| Introduction to the SUR Programme | Who is the SUR Programme for? | Accommodation, Scholarships, Travel and Visas

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Introduction to the SUR Programme

Few entering university students have had significant experience with research into the unknown. Initial university courses provide descriptions of fundamental processes that are well established, indeed “in the textbooks”. The first opportunity to do research at the edge of the unknown can be a life changing experience that is remembered for the rest of one’s life. The School of Biology of the Faculty of Biology and Medicine at the University of Lausanne (UNIL) proposes the Summer Undergraduate Research (SUR) Programme for the uninitiated to obtain that first experience.

During 8 weeks in July and August, the SUR Programme hosts about 15 Bachelor (first university degree) students with both biological and medical studies background from around the world. Each participant will perform an individual research project in a different laboratory of the Faculty of Biology and Medicine. This programme aims to attract outstanding motivated students for a research experience that will remain with them for their lifetimes.

While most of the time is spent in the host lab, each week the students come together for shared academic activities, often with participants of the sister programme at the EPFL. These activities include introductory student research presentations, lectures from faculty members on research topics and their career paths, and career guidance workshops in academia and beyond.

At the end of the summer, students present the results of their research on a poster during a joint UNIL/EPFL Symposium and write a final report.

Students also enjoy many social activities, including a hike in the Alps, barbecues, swimming in Lac Léman, and visits to other cities in Switzerland!

Who is the SUR Programme for?

The programme is geared towards students in biology, medicine or a related discipline with a strong focus on biological sciences. Eligible applicants will have completed two years of bachelor's degree (and will be enrolling in their third year) at the time of the programme.

Having prior research experience is not a selection criteria.

Note that we consider study in biology and medicine broadly, but applicants engaged in studies in physical therapy, nursery, dentistry or veterinary science will not be considered.

The programme is highly competitive; students are chosen based upon their academic record (typically GPA >3.75 or equivalent, and/or top 5% class ranking), personal statements, and letters of recommendation.

Students should have excellent communication skills in written and spoken English.

Students must be present for the entire programme to participate. For organizational matters, we cannot change the programme’s date.

The SUR Programme 2024 will take place from July 3rd till August 28th.

Selected participants will be informed via email about six weeks after the application deadline.

Accommodation, Scholarships, Travel and Visas

The program coordinator will arrange and pay for the housing.

Students will be housed in of one of the UNIL associations in Lausanne, in a mixed (male/female) furnished apartment.

Students will have either single rooms or double rooms and share a kitchen and bathroom facilities with their fellow SUR participants.

The program coordinator will inform participants when the housing assignment is made, how to contact the housing association, and where it is located.

The programme provides a scholarship of approximately CHF 1’500 to cover other living expenses.

Students are advised to bring extra money for expenses above and beyond standard housing and living expenses (e.g., weekend travel).

Limited funds are available to cover justified costs of travel to Lausanne. In general, up to CHF 500 for European travel and CHF 1’200 for overseas travel is covered.

Reimbursement of travel expenses is made at the end of the programme, after the accommodation has been checked out, subject to deduction of any cleaning/damage costs or loss of keys.

Original receipts, proof of payment and boarding passes are required for reimbursement.

Assistance is provided to all students who require visas to come to Switzerland. The scholarship does not cover visa fees for accepted applicants.

Participants must be covered for health and accidents from their home country.

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